Blackburn Calls On FCC to Abandon Plans for Aggressive Re-regulation
Washington Mandates the Wrong Path to Better Local Broadcasting
Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) today released a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin signed by more than one hundred and twenty of her bi-partisan colleagues. The letter expresses concern over the FCC's "localism" proceeding, which would represent a "radical re-regulation of our nation's broadcast system."
"While we agree with the Commission that fostering more and better local programming is a laudable goal, we do not agree that mandates from Washington are the best means of achieving that goal. Indeed, the tentative conclusion in the localism proceeding to effectively force broadcasters to air programming that fits pre-ordained categories creates clear constitutional concerns." (Text of 4/16/08 Letter to the FCC)
The FCC localism effort will restore a 1970s era regulatory regime for local broadcasters. That represents a return to a time when most local radio stations operated in the red. Reverting to out-of-date rules would impose significant costs on broadcast licensees that will harm their ability to serve the public interest. This could ultimately lead to cost-cutting and job elimination in an effort to comply with the Commission's ill-conceived mandates.